NCIC must apply the law equally on hate speech


With just over four months before the next general elections, it is incumbent upon all leaders, political and otherwise, to promote peace and tranquillity among all Kenyan people.

The National Cohesion and integration Commission (NCIC) is the statutory body charged with the responsibility of ensuring that no one engages in hate speech and talk that may divide Kenyans along ethnic and other sectarian fractures.

In 2010, I presented a complaint to NCIC when Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned the people of Rift Valley not to be seduced with ‘peremende’ by ‘those we were fighting with in the last general elections’.

Although NCIC dismissed my complaint, it was the first case ever to be presented to NCIC. Two and a half years since then, one would hope that NCIC has learnt the lesson that it is not only the direct and literal meaning of speeches that should be taken into consideration.

Subsequent cases that have been reported to NCIC involve much more subtle and mundane talk than the ‘peremende’ comments. There is almost consensus that the nuance and tonality of speeches, the implied and general import of leaders’ talk is much more important than the express meaning.

In the recent weeks, the Prime Minister has been consistently using language that is frightening. During the last weekend rallies, Raila’s speeches made three references which, in my view, should attract more than cursory interest from Mzalendo Kibunjia and his team at NCIC.

Addressing women leaders in Narok County, he asked ODM supporters to vote in a uniform ‘six-piece’ fashion and get rid of ‘madoadoa’. There is nothing wrong in voting in a uniform fashion.

The usage of the term ‘madoadoa’ is another matter altogether. Even as unreliable and discredited as they are, the two Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) conflicting reports of July and August, 2010 were unanimous that the usage of the term ‘madoadoa’ contributed to a significant extent to the post-election violence of 2007-2008.

Any leader with the interests of the country at heart would think twice before using the term ‘madoadoa’. The risk of misinterpretation by overzealous supporters far much outweighs the communication value that one might argue was the intention.

Later the same day, while addressing a public rally in Narok stadium, Raila Odinga asked his supporters to arm themselves with IDs and voters cards which will be the ‘guns and bullets’ in the coming elections. ”When I say ‘Fire!’ you fire”, Raila said.

Again, he may claim that his was a benign call to encourage voters to acquire IDs and register as voters. But why use such kind of extreme and violent language?

In normal circumstances this would pass as ordinary talk. This is not a ‘kawaida’ general election. This is the first general election after Kenya went dangerously close to the precipice of an abyss in the last general election.

The analogy of violence, of guns, of bullets, of ‘madoadoas’ is such a stark reminder that whilst as a nation we have made strides in reforming this country, the more Kenya has changed, the more Raila Odinga has remained the same.

13 Replies to “NCIC must apply the law equally on hate speech”

  1. While the writer may have apoint he is bias and self centered! in thus the language, and finally this a divisional report. My friend Tell your leader to sort out with kenyans who are now known as “PERVs”, tell you kin to stop slaughtering their own. same thing will apply to raila and whoever who is behind MRC. while you were busy looking at Raila your cousin was throwing rocks, how low can you go!, then the Kayole saga. when monkeys are walking they laugh at the leading one having seen their butt. peace

  2. I abhor the fact that the writer is implicitly telling us we should stop using some words lest we start butchering ourselves again… I believe Kenyans are not that stupid. And they are not zombies who can be triggered with some ‘keywords’ for that matter!
    Whereas NCIC has a job of stopping hate speech, I don’t believe that people should be hauled to court for using a word!
    If as part of his job he’s meant to soil their opponents, I’d say he’s doing a bad job at it… That whole thing was cheap and nearly sounded of desperation… Surely TNA has got more to offer and stands for more than what is being articulated here?
    If NCIC is being partial, as a responsible leader with all the evidence, I believe they should take them to court, get them replaced with competent people. Now that would be leadership! And you can bet you’ll win more votes with that, rather than cheap tirades…

  3. Oh, I feel extremely let down by the writer. By the way I ahve just been informed he is a lawyer. I hardly see any writs on any other person issue or matter other than Prime Minister. When Waititu is in action, he closes the eyes while the mind goes to sleep. When mere plain words that are very straight forward are used in a fair context tht appears very ordinary, he himself appears to interpret in his own biased way.
    Just a piece of advise, open up your literature and focus points so that we dont mistake you to be on hire. There are so many ills out there to expose away from your line of ussual focus.

  4. You are paranoid,i think you can go to court with your evidence,under constitution 2010 article 3(1) every person has an obligation to respect,uphold and defend this constitution……..go and defend it!…..but if you are paid on the basis of the number of pieces you ‘publish'(try publish this in a respectable newspaper) then …well,i understand

    1. Doreen, I stand to be collected because i don’t think waititu was taken to court, lost his ministerial job by somebody defending the constitution, but the NCIC through the office of DPP is doing what it is are employed to do. Am not defending anyone here but am surprised that we as Kenyans are ready to defend our course without reasoning. So far we are yet to see a hate speech case from Raila side, may be that of Wanjiru if she does not toe the line, irrespective of incidences being reported to the authorities. It may hold some truth that Kikuyus cannot vote for any other tribe, but i dont think it is a curse, may be they would need just somebody who has been taking care of their interests and who is ready to continue doing so. Sidelining them and persecuting them might not do any good. Let the law be applied equally to all and those who hate others because they do not favour their side to rethink their PR.

  5. Kuria, let me first apologise for thinking that your are a quack, secondly do you know about figuratively language?If yes then write what Kenyan can consume.Your writing are full of Raila,why dont you try another presidential aspirant. Next time give us the manifesto of TNA flag bearer and compare and contrust having in mind the aspiration of Kenyan.Know that Kenya is one.Kindly be objective or enrol in a journalism school.

  6. Mr. Kuria, this is a historical piece, which will form the bases of the relationships to be upheld by generations to come. History is good for it reminds a people where they are coming from.
    So far the case handled by NCIC are the one from person(s) opposed to either ODM or Raila. To mention but a few, Makwere case, Machage case, the 3 kikuyu musician case, Waititu case, kabogo case, wanjiru case. It is on record that some of the terms used now were used before the PEV in 2007. Why repeat them again. It was reckless talk when Raila in kilifi said that the violence taking place there is targeting ODM supporters. Are the police maimed and killed members of ODM? Was Maitha, the slain bodyguard an ODM man?
    Am even more suprised that just a few days after wanjiru entered into the ODM,s black book, NCIC can now detect hate statement from her.
    Ignorance is no defense, and a mad man in a market place is noticeable by all. History will judge and the devil will be ashamed

    1. Jimmy,It true tutavote, but truth be told. we are tired of political PR pieces. We need constructive issues written, and discusion on manifestos laid down. Kuria hear this.

  7. The faster we can send Raila and his demented supporters into the dustbin of ignoble history, the better for Kenya as a whole.

  8. PM Raila has been very contemptuous to NCIC. He has refused to use civil language in his campaigns. He has ridiculed other candidates as rats, donkeys and mules. Fake opinion polls have become another insulting enterprise against Kenyans. The polsters are mostly his outfits but they wont follow the law. All indications are that he encourages them to defy it. In no less than three occasions now, these fake polsters have released their “produce” without diclosing who paid them. We know the 2007/8 PEV was mainly ignited by fake polls. However, NCIC has pretended not to notice this obvious mischief.

    Name-calling and character assassination are Raila’s tools in trade. Nevertheless, NCIC hasnt seen it fit to take action. They rather go for those mentioned in river road rumour mills! Its a fact that Raila without foul language is hopelessly nothing. Without stalking tribal animosity PM Raila is not at home at all. His parable antics are actually open disperages for other leaders! Without creating false comical impressions, Raila is hardly at ease. Without parading abscenities, Raila is certainly not campaigning! But NCIC wont act because his guys are the ones who decide what to fashion what Kenyans should know!

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